Relief 2.0 Enterprise

Relief 2.0 Enterprise

$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We seek to enable disaster survivors as entrepreneurs before they are turned into refugees by the conventional relief system.

Our mission is to empower local communities impacted by disaster to generate wealth and become self-sustainable, connecting them with local and global markets where disaster survivors sell goods and services so they can generate wealth and not depend on donations.

Survivors are resourceful and capable people able to fend for themselves and generate wealth if given the opportunity and proper support. The physical infrastructure may have been destroyed, but not so the social structure. The buildings might be gone, but the professionals and the skills of the people are intact, ready to be put to good use.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Tohoku region is in the Northeast of Japan. This region is well known for its cold weather and long winters. The tough weather has made its people patient, shy and quiet, but very hard working. They are well organized, have a high sense of community, duty and responsibility. They also are fairly educated, able to read and write and stand out at following instructions and doing their assigned tasks in team work.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We aspire to substitute donations whose destiny is uncertain with purchases, charity with dignified sales, turning global donors into conscious consumers of local products and services. We differentiate from other initiatives by... <ul><li>Complete traceability of funds, accountability and transparency of operations. <ul><li>Buyers know exactly where their money goes, how it is distributed and which community, artist, professional or seller gets the money and what percentage of it.</li></ul></li> <li>Engagement of communities impacted by disasters.</li> <ul><li>We focus on communities affected by disaster and boosting their recovery through the activation of the local economy and generation and distribution of local wealth.</li></ul></li> <li>Promoting social entrepreneurship, sustainable and dignified activities. <ul><li>Beneficiaries’ income based on the amount of sales, not fixed income.</li> <li>This allows them to become entrepreneurs, hire others, distribute costs and expand.</li></ul></li> <li>Direct / Personal connection with beneficiaries. <ul><li>Local sellers and communities are showcased through stories, pictures and videos.</li> <li>Buyers, organizations and the public can contact the sellers directly.</li></ul></li> <li>Customized, On Demand Products. <ul><li>Users can pay a premium price to request personalized items customized by the artists, ie. songs with the buyers name in the lyrics, stories with the name of a child included in the book or audio, paintings with a desired theme, embroidered initials on clothing, etc.</li></ul></li> </ul>
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ours is a proven business concept that works. We are extending the impact and reach of the fair trade and community engagement models and applying it to disaster areas and survivors. Our Strategy is to Never Help, but to Enable, Engage, Empower and Connect through: <ol><li>A Global Marketplace of goods and services produced locally in disasters areas offered to a global audience.</li> <li>A Capacity Building and Certification program on practical skills and entrepreneurial spirit.</li> <li>An enabling and supporting platform engaging local and community organizations as partners and leaders in the field.</li> <li>A Collaborative Repository of good practices, lessons learned, resources, case studies, templates specially designed and customized for the survivors.</li> </ol>
About You
Relief 2.0
About You
First Name


Last Name

Miranda Levy

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Relief 2.0

Organization Country

, CA, San Mateo County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, 04

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Relief 2.0 Enterprise was born out of the experience and active participation of a multidisciplinary group of individuals from around the globe who responded to the earthquake crisis in Haiti and effectively ran the last mile with independent units deployed in the field, supported by mobile communications technology and coordinated via social networks.

Frustrated by the inefficiency of the conventional disaster response approach, we organized the first Relief 2.0 workshop at Stanford University on February 2010 where multiple actors shared and discussed their fields experiences and lessons learned.

Based on our field work, combined with academic and social research our detailed Relief 2.0 model for effective disaster response was born.

10 months after the earthquake and with billions of dollars pledged and donated to Haiti, the lives of Haitians continue to be disrupted and the local stakeholders and resources remain excluded of the recovery process, their local capacity ignored, effectively turning them in dependents of alien assistance and decisions.

As our frustration grew, we revisited our model, focusing now on how to generate local wealth and allow local stakeholders to be responsible of their own recovery and growth. This brought us to our model explaining Exclusion of Local Resources and Alienation of Funds in Conventional Disaster Relief and Response.

Then the earthquake and tsunami in Japan took place and we moved quickly to the field, spending 2 months with the businesses to launch our Business Recovery Pilot in Ishinomaki, currently under way.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

<p>We have already done 12 missions to Haiti and 3 missions to Japan. Engaged a number of local stakeholders and leveraged significant support and resources to enable the survivors to recover with dignity.</p>
<p>During our missions to Haiti we pioneered the use of Twitter, SMS and Facebook to enable an organic social network of volunteers who supported independent units of local stakeholders and foreign volunteers in the field and effectively broadcasted and solved their field requests.</p>
<p>On February 2010 we organized the first Relief 2.0 workshop at Stanford University, followed by similar workshops in Singapore, South America and Japan throughout 2010 and 2011.</p>
<p>We are currently collaborating with a number of partners in Japan and the USA, including the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Impact Foundation Japan, the Global Summit of Women and Stanford University to run a <a href=>Business Recovery as a Disaster Recovery Strategy Pilot in Japan</a> to enable 23 businesses in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan to re-open and generate local wealth and employment as a means for recovery with dignity and self-sustainability.</p>

How many people have been impacted by your project?


How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

<p>We plan to complete our <a href=>business recovery pilot in Ishinomaki</a> by the end of summer and use the lessons learned to expand to other cities in the Tohoku area of Japan.</p>
<p>On August we plan to launch our Relief Marketplace to offer goods and services by the local businesses and disaster survivors to the world.</p>
<p>On September we plan to start our entrepreneurial capacity building program, starting with female entrepreneurs in collaboration with the Global Summit of Women and Stanford University.</p>

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Lack of entrepreneurial skills, local regulations, language and commercial barriers and cost of exports. We will overcome them via capacity building programs, engaging local authorities, local stakeholders and partnering with global distribution channels.

Tell us about your partnerships

For academic and entrepreneurial aspects we partner with the Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford University. For Social Business we partner with the Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University. For funding and business engagement we partner with the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan. For social development and volunteers we partner with Impact Foundation Japan.

Explain your selections

We use our own funds and also receive supports from donors and partners.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

By proving our worth in the field, running small pilots and learning from our lessons.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.





Other (Specify Below)

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Relief Enterprise allows those interested in helping disaster areas to buy goods from survivors or employing them and getting something back instead of making donations whose destiny is uncertain. You are not just helping with money, but enabling the survivors to engage in a sustainable, profitable and dignified activity. By combining multiple disaster areas we become a diverse channel to connect them with a global audience of consumers interested in acquiring goods and helping at the same time.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Grown geographic reach: Multi-country


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices


Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

After our initial experience in Haiti we are now deploying a pilot and expanding to Japan. Working together with local and community organizations and putting them in charge of local operations, we delegate the process of scouting artisans, makers of goods and local service providers, contact with them, capacity building and their certification.
The local partner organizations receive training and a support kit for training, evaluating and certifying local goods and service providers. They also cover the costs of the local operation, including web connectivity, phone services, local financial costs (incorporation, bank accounts), collecting goods to be shipped and distributing payments to the local providers. In exchange, they earn a percentage of the revenue.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Access to resources and partners, knowledge, skilled human resources and active leaders in the field.